Nearly One-Third of Doctors Could Leave Medicine if Health-Care Reform Bill Passes, According to Survey Reported in New England Journal of Medicine

Christopher Neefus
CNSNews.com
3/16/2010

(CNSNews.com) – Nearly one-third of all practicing physicians may leave the medical profession if President Obama signs current versions of health-care reform legislation into law, according to a survey published in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

The survey, which was conducted by the Medicus Firm, a leading physician search and consulting firm based in Atlanta and Dallas, found that a majority of physicians said health-care reform would cause the quality of American medical care to “deteriorate” and it could be the “final straw” that sends a sizeable number of doctors out of medicine.

More than 29 percent (29.2) percent of the nearly 1,200 doctors who responded to the survey said they would quit the profession or retire early if health reform legislation becomes law. If a public option were included in the legislation, as several liberal Senators have indicated they would like, the number would jump to 45.7 percent.

The medical journal published the results in its March and April edition, saying: “While a sudden loss of half of the nations physicians seems unlikely, a very dramatic decrease in the physician workforce could become a reality as an unexpected side effect of health reform.”…

…“I think the reason it hasn’t become a big issue in the political debate is maybe because no one else has really thought about the effects of health reform on the physician workforce. Or, maybe people didn’t want to think about it, but as recruiters we can’t help but think about it and take notice,” she said…

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